My friend Eli says that whenever you say that you "need" something, what you really mean is, "I need A to do B." Like, "I need food to live." "I need to pass this class to graduate." "I need cuddles to feel better." There is always a "to" statement that follows, even if we don't say it out loud. And when you think about it, adding that "to" statement allows us to decide whether we need something based on whether we want the result. Like, most people assume that passing the class is something you need more than you need cuddles, but I personally would put feeling good ahead of graduating and would therefore need cuddles more than passing the class. When you examine the reasons, you can see that. My boyfriend couldn't accept the fact that I was not willing to do things I didn't want to do that "needed" to be done, but the fact is: you need to vacuum to have a clean floor. If you don't care about the floor being clean, you don't need to vacuum! It's that simple!
Now let's say you hate the sensory experience of drinking water, but you need water to live. You could choose not to live because you hate the experience so much. That is a personal choice. But if you do want to live, you would find a way to deal with drinking water or an alternative way to get fluids into your system.
Let's assume that living is something everyone wants to do, so we eliminate the needs that are crucial for survival. Let's examine the other things we need to do. Most of these things are social constructs that we've accepted all our lives as things we have to do whether we want to or not, whether we agree or not. Take these two examples:
1. I need to practice for soccer tryouts in order to make the team.
2. I need to finish my homework in order to go outside and play.
The first statement is a direct result. Practicing will cause you to get better and be more likely to make the team. That's a fact rather than a social construct. The second statement is not a fact. There is no reason that you are incapable of going out to play without finishing your homework. This is a rule that someone else set for you because they are controlling your life and that is not okay!
Most things we "need" to do fall into that second category, the category of things that we've been forced to do all our lives. But these aren't facts of life. It's not like needing water to live. If you're doing something because you don't want to get in trouble, the fact that you could get in trouble is a PROBLEM. Most things do not need to be done!!! You hate the sensory experience of wearing clothes? You SHOULD be able to not wear clothes. Your naked body is not hurting anyone, not violating anyone else's rights. The only reason you need to wear clothes is because of stupid social conventions that will get you into serious trouble if you don't.
We don't have to live in a society with mandatory education. I don't care how much fun people try to make the learning experience - it does not change the fact that kids are forced to be there. People have compared schools to prisons and I agree with that because kids are forced to be there. School CAN be optional. And jobs don't have to be essential either. We can have a basic, livable income that everyone gets and people can choose to have a job if they'd like to or if they want to make more money than the basic income. A lot of work can be done with machines, and over time we could gradually decrease the need for human labor. There would still be jobs for people who wanted to work, but it wouldn't be necessary. It could be optional.
Most things really, truly CAN BE OPTIONAL but we're stuck in this rut of believing that we can't physically get up and go play without finishing our homework first because that's how things are done. Fuck that! I know that mandatory education and the need for jobs won't be eliminated in my lifetime, which is depressing, but I will never say that it can't happen. I won't accept that this is just the way things have to be. We CAN create a place where people of all ages can make their own choices about their lives, and not just in the limited, pseudo way that we do now. It is possible. No matter what everyone says, it is possible. We don't have to be trapped like we are now, and I will never accept that we're stuck this way forever.